How many times have you heard it said that the internet has transformed modern life? Indeed it's probably changed how you stay in touch with family and friends, purchase goods and services, and even search for information about health problems. Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care.As is the case with general medicine, the emergence of telehealth solutions demonstrates how technology can add convenience to patients lives by enabling them to connect and converse with their physician without having to travel to and from their office. Telehealth solutions in clinical trials introduce significant benefits to trial sites and sponsors, as well. By eliminating or reducing late arrivals, missed appointments, and the transition time between seeing patients, opportunity exists for research sites to increase efficiencies and therefore the number of patients they see each day. This increases productivity and profitability for both the site and sponsor.
Insights from Mark Hanley, Founder of VirTrial
Brief us on the company’s origin and transformation.
I recently served as the CEO of Radiant Research/Synexus, the country’s largest wholly-owned network of clinical trial sites. During these 11+ years, we conducted more than 10,000 trials and enrolled hundreds of thousands of patients. From this experience we recognized the need to find a better way to engage and retain patients in trials.
The solution is VirTrial. I founded the company in 2018 with a goal of making clinical trials easier for patients and sites. To ensure a reliable product, we acquired a stable, award-winning virtual care platform and customized it for clinical trial use.
What are your firm’s products and services?
VirTrial’s Patient Management Program is a new breed of virtual trial platform that provides a hybrid option for clinical trials that require a combination of in-clinic and virtual visits. Our vision is to replace 25-40 percent of standard clinical visits. Our secure video, text, and email platform offers convenience to patients that can speed patient recruitment, increase retention, and generate improved outcomes saving pharmaceutical companies time and money in getting medications to market faster.
Unlike other virtual trial offerings, VirTrial’s Patient Management Program is the only solution that is available to any research site and operates on any device, eliminating the expense and hassle of provisioning devices for each patient. It offers up to 8-way video calling and has 20 languages available via video and 183 via audio.
Tell us about the firm’s accomplishment you are most proud of.
VirTrial recently announced it has joined the Society for Clinical Research Sites (SCRS) as a Global Impact Partner. With all key stakeholders at VirTrial having previously been involved in operating research sites, there is a strong desire to support sites and improve their ability to conduct trials more efficiently. The goal is to work closely with SCRS and directly with sites to create a unified effort to improve the industry overall.
What makes your company fit into 30 Best companies list?
VirTrial is not only working in the clinical research industry, but for the clinical research industry. Our ultimate objective is to make clinical trials more patient-centric and to expedite the introduction of more effective medications into the market. By partnering with research sites and promoting a hybrid approach to clinical trials, VirTrial streamlines the process for sites and reduces the burden for patients, thus improving patient retention and faster trial completions.
How does your enterprise help employees in their work-life balance?
VirTrial enables Principal Investigators (PIs) and other clinical staff to manage trials and patient communication more efficiently. It is easier to engage with patients with multiple options for communication including phone, video, email and text. The VirTrial platform also enables site staff to send instructions and review protocols more frequently than when their only interaction is at the clinic.
Additionally, VirTrial greatly impacts work-life balance for trial patients by eliminating the need for them to travel to and from the site for each visit. The flexibility enables more patients to participate that otherwise couldn’t and allows them to comply with required visits from the comfort of their home or work.
How does your company stand out in the competition?
VirTrial executives recognize the value of clinical research sites and aim to support research staff in the trial process. We strive to make trials more accessible to a diverse population by introducing technology that makes remote visits a possibility. At the same time, having come from sites and working closely with patients, we understand that technology can’t replace the human element and therefore strive to combine the two to ensure the safety of patients in conjunction with adding convenience and expediting the trial process.
Is your company a leader or a follower?
VirTrial executives have a clear vision for the future of virtual clinical trials, and this vision is different than most competitors. VirTrial is aggressively engaging with the industry to make an impact and has recently established a partnership with a key association, SCRS, in order to ensure a responsible, site- and patient-centric approach to including virtual trials in clinical research.
Mark S. Hanley is a business owner and an active community volunteer and VirTrial CEO. He served as the CEO of Radiant Clinical Research, a company he acquired in 2007. Since the acquisition, Hanley built Radiant into the country’s largest wholly-owned network of clinical trial sites. A healthcare industry veteran, Hanley recently held a seat on the Board of Directors for Allied Healthcare International, a publicly-traded company, which was sold in 2011.
Prior to CRA, Hanley was the founder and CEO of O2 Science, a large regional provider of home healthcare products and services. Before that, he served as the senior vice president of sales and marketing for a national provider of infusion therapy services Coram Healthcare. Hanley is trained in emergency medicine (Paramedic/Creighton University) and began his healthcare career as a respiratory care practitioner for Methodist Healthcare Systems in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
In his community, Hanley volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a role that he has held since 2007. Appointed by Arizona’s Supreme Court, the mission of a CASA is to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children who are involved in the juvenile court system. Hanley has also served as a Republican Precinct Committeeman since 2008, and he has earned the distinctive title of Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation.
"VirTrial enables greater accessibility to trials for patients, higher performance by clinical trial sites, and improved outcomes for pharmaceutical companies. Working together we can bring better medications to market more quickly."